With proper care and cultivation, a mushroom log can last as long as seven years. A good practice is to consider the log diameter to try and determine how long your specific log will last. Consider each inch of diameter as representing one year of mushroom cultivation.
Taking the proper care of your mushroom log will give it the best chance of giving you multiple yields of mushrooms for as many years as possible.
Why Grow Mushrooms On A Log?
Growing mushrooms on a log is a practice that began in Asia over 2000 years ago. However, many people have started doing it in Western countries for a variety of reasons.
They can be a great source of small income if you grow items on a farm or for a farmer’s market. For personal use, mushrooms are incredibly nutritious and versatile. They can be made into a variety of dishes, and growing them is not a costly process.
What Kinds Of Mushrooms Can I Grow On Logs?
There are a plethora of mushroom types that you can grow on a log. Some examples include:
- Lion’s Mane
- Chicken Of The Woods
What Kind Of Logs Do I Need To Start Growing Mushrooms?
The type of log you choose will depend on what kinds of mushrooms you want to grow. Go for the healthiest log possible, and try to harvest the log in winter for the best quality. Aim for logs at 3-4 feet, but you can go as long or small as you want.
Shitake mushrooms grow best on oak, sugar maple, and red maple logs, but they can also grow on many hardwood varieties. Oyster mushrooms also grow well on hardwood, but they prefer white birch.
Some of the most versatile types of logs that will grow your mushrooms are:
Before planting any mushrooms, you’ll want to soak your log in cold water overnight.
After Knowing What Kind Of Log I Need, How Do I Choose One?
Consider working with a size of log that you’re comfortable lifting, in case you need to move it or want to soak it again in cold water. The fresher you can get the log, the better.
It’s recommended to use a log to start growing mushrooms no longer than one month after chopping it. This ensures that it doesn’t have time to start decaying, and doesn’t give it room to start growing fungus.
How Do I Plant Mushrooms Inside The Logs?
The simplest way to plant mushrooms, especially for a beginner, is to buy plug spawn. They are inexpensive, and are already inoculated with the mushroom. You simply have to drill holes into the mushroom log and hammer the plug spawn in.
Drill holes about 6 inches apart from each other at about 1 inch deep. Depending on your log size, you should be able to plant anywhere from 30-50 plugs. Be sure to work in rows, staggering your holes after the first row. Place your next row of holes at least 2-3 inches below the first row, and continue this way.
After your plugs are in, you’ll want to seal them with melted wax, such as cheese wax or beeswax.
Can I Grow Mushrooms Indoors?
You can easily grow mushrooms indoors. All you need to do is find the log a nice place with shade, and be sure to water it regularly. You also want to ensure you soak the log overnight in cold water every 30 days.
It’s important not to let your log sit in direct sunlight or allow it to get dry air, like from a fan or a heater. They are happy in room temperature, in the shade, in a mild climate.
For the best results, you can let your mushroom sit upright in a shallow dish with one inch of soil in it.
Can I Grow Mushrooms Outdoors?
You can also grow mushrooms outdoors, in a cool and shady area, preferably sitting on a bed of soil. It doesn’t have to sit on soil though; you can also hang it up or prop it up against something.
Mushroom logs love rain. If you live in a dry area, ensuring you keep it watered with a hose is key. Do so for 10 minutes at least once a week.
How Long Do Mushrooms Take To Grow On A Log?
Depending on what type of mushroom you are growing, it can take anywhere from 6-24 months for mushrooms to grow on your log. Once they reach that point, they begin a process called flushing.
Flushing is when your mushroom is ready to be harvested to eat. This process can be quick, so be sure to keep good records of your logs.
Once Grown, How Long Should I Wait To Harvest The Mushrooms?
Once the mushrooms reach the flush stage and you can physically see them blooming out of the log, it’s time to harvest them. As soon as you see them, they are good to go.
In order to keep your fresh mushrooms as fresh as possible, store them in the fridge in an open brown paper bag. They should stay fresh for about a week.
What Do I Do After Harvesting To Prepare The Log For The Next Grow?
Once you have harvested your mushrooms, you have two options. You can let the log rest for a while before preparing it for next year, or you can try to force them to regrow again.
If you want another harvest as soon as possible.you’ll want to soak your log again and wait for the next grow. Depending on the variety of mushroom you are growing, it could potentially regrow within 30-45 days.
How Do I Know When My Mushroom Log Is No Longer Usable?
The fantastic thing about mushroom logs is that they naturally begin to disintegrate into mineral soil as they are getting older. This is because when the mushrooms grow, they essentially eat the log to grow.
Once your log has turned into mineral soil, you can simply add it to your garden to help feed your other plants.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.